Seattle startup Coolr seemed to have a lot of things going its way.
An experienced entrepreneur at the helm who’d already achieved past success, and a strong syndicate of investors that included Trilogy Equity Partners, Voyager Capital and angel investors Geoff Entress and Serena Glover.
But Coolr, which was developing an enterprise communication service, just couldn’t make ends meet, with CEO Ford Davidson telling GeekWire that the company recently shut down.
“We were fortunate to have great pilot customers who were using the service and working closely with us to continue to improve it,” said Davidson, who previously founded Dashwire. “It seemed like we were close on iterating to a high value offering even within a noisy landscape, but unfortunately, we were unable to raise significant additional funding, and we decided to close the company and pursue new adventures.”
Coolr raised $1.5 million in December 2014, and more recently closed on a small amount of additional funding.
Davidson, who met with success when mobile phone backup service Dashwire sold to HTC in 2011 for $18.5 million, said he learned a lot from Coolr’s demise.
“One lesson: building tools for enterprise is challenging in that you need to solve problems for the buyers, but also have the employees actually want to use the product,” he said. “It’s a delicate balance of which group to focus on first, but (you) need to pick one; companies like Slack and Asana have done an awesome job finding a strong balance after building momentum with individual users that opened doors to the company buyer.”
Davidson is unsure what he’ll be doing next, simply saying he’s going to recharge and reflect on the lessons from Coolr before choosing his next path.
The demise of Coolr could indicate that the startup investment climate is indeed cooling. In fact, many industry watchers have suggested that startup investing will get tougher this year.